From Staedtler, we have two natural finish pencils. Not displayed on any Staedtler website I am aware of, they may be regional offerings, or are perhaps new to the market.
The 123 60 is an unlacquered hexagonal pencil, factory sharpened, with an unfinished end. The pencils and the box are both marked, “Made in Germany”. The English text on the box says, “Natural wood office pencils.”
The 190T is a clear lacquered round pencil, unsharpened, with a dark blue cap and white cap ring. Apart from being a brand name round pencil, which is already a small category, it has a some curious elements.
First, the name appears to be foil stamped – another unusual practice for Staedtler. The box calls the 190T “standard round pencils” and is marked “Made in Thailand.”
The box has an even more unusual claim – a bullet point stating, “crowned end to protect lead from humidity.” Now that is interesting – are leads vulnerable to the effects of humidity? Certainly at the point of contact with paper they are, and many have noted the relationship between humidity and a pencil’s performance. But at rest, unused – does the pencil’s core benefit from coverage at one end? I would guess that the wood is more vulnerable to the effects of humidity than the lead. What do you think of this claim?
As writers, I’ve consistently found the 190T to be the better of the two, with a lead I would call smoother and darker. In appearance, I’d also give the nod to the 190T, and bonus points for the round shape.
Perhaps responses to environmental trends, they are both nice and worth a try, especially the 190T.